Sunday, 22, May 2016
Washington Neighbourhoods: Dupont Circle
Our guide to the districts of Washington
Think of Washington D.C. and you may well think of grand monuments and political landmarks, all of which are instantly recognisable and synonymous with the capital of the USA. But there’s so much more to Washington – a bustling city filled with disparate districts and enclaves, all with their own personality and spirit.
In the first of our Washington Neighbourhoods series, we look at Dupont Circle, the namesake and home of The Dupont Circle hotel.
Explore Dupont Circle and you’ll discover dozens of bistros, bars, boutiques and museums. Every day of the year, laid-back locals and savvy visitors flock to the Dupont Circle fountain to read, people-watch and meet up with others. The Dupont Circle fountain is one of the DC’s most iconic landmarks outside of the National Mall, and was built by sculptor Daniel Chester French and architect Henry Bacon (of Lincoln Memorial fame).
Art-lovers can gallery hop around for First Friday Dupont, or experience America’s first museum of modern art, The Phillips Collection. This ticketed museum offers new perspectives on the works of modern artists, from Renoir to Rothko. Come to the Phillips for its special exhibitions and its unique programming, which includes Sunday concerts at 4 p.m. and the after-hours hit on first Thursdays of the month, Phillips After 5.
Globally minded folks should trek down Embassy Row, which starts on Massachusetts Avenue and cuts right through the circle.
Join the throngs of locals on Sundays who visit the year-round Dupont Circle farmers’ market in front of the Metro station entrance on Q and 20th streets.
The Spanish Steps, located on 22nd Street between S Street and Decatur Place, are one of the hidden gems of Dupont Circle. Savvy wooers bring their dates there, writers bring their notebooks and picnickers bring their lunches.
DC’s reputation as a well-read city is clear to see at Kramerbooks, where voracious readers fill up on political studies, essays, literature, novels and travel guides, before filling up on food from the open-late, on-site Afterwords cafe. Another reason to visit: the steady lineup of readings from local and renowned authors.
Tour President Woodrow Wilson's final, Georgian revival home, which looks the same today as it did when Wilson lived here in the 1920s. The historic site also hosts exciting events, from vintage game nights to garden parties in spring.
Lunch options galore
When lunch time rolls around, the Circle has something for every appetite. You don’t need to wander too far from The Dupont Circle, either – Bar Dupont has amazing drinks, lunch and light food plates available all day, and Café Dupont has breakfast, dinner and an incredibly populat brunch at weekends.
Make it over to P Street for an authentic take on Latin cuisine at Panas Gourmet Empanadas. Chow down on a tapas lunch at Boqueria, or keep it super simple with a crave-worthy Shackburger at Shake Shack. Pizzeria Paradiso’s sophisticated pies are far from simple, while GBD’s unbeatable fried chicken-doughnut combo (yeah, it’s a DC thing) lets you mix lunch with dessert. And to fully immerse yourself in the area’s Italian cuisine, book a tour with Mangia DC Food Tours.
Shops for days
Add some style as you step down Connecticut Avenue, which is full of reputable retailers like Brooks Brothers, H&M and Gap. Dupont Circle also features local shops that can help build and accessorize your seasonal outfit. For the ladies, Proper Topper have a fabulous an unmatched hat selection. Men can scoop a new suit at Alton Lane and a new pair of Oxfords to compliment it at Allen Edmonds, just 5 minutes apart on foot.
Get down on the dance floor
If you’re looking to dance the night away, Dupont Circle has you covered. Cobalt is a popular nightclub among the neighborhood’s thriving LGBT community and has dance floors across its three levels. For those yearning for a spicier dance experience, try Café Citron for salsa dancing (lessons are offered, too).
There are some fantastic events in the area all throughout the year. Here are some of the best…
- Taste of Dupont April (April 9th this year)
- Dupont Circle Pride Parade
- Around the World Embassy Tour (May 7th this year) – Tour the Dupont Circle Embassies
- Fresh Farmers Market (every Sunday)